Thursday’s Thingamajig: Space Soda

Yes, I even managed to get a Thursday’s Thingamajig post out of my trip!

I was quite amused with the space food displays at the National Air and Space Museum, particularly with the soft drink cans. Think about: someone actually sat down and thought up of a way to drink soda safely in space. Safely? Did you not know opening your normal can in a spaceship could be a question of life or death? The science info was hard to find and I don’t claim I would a science court case with my findings, but…

– If you had a coke can outside the space ship the pressure of space and your can would not be compatible. So uncompatible your can would explode into tiny aluminum shrapnels. Imagine now these fragments flying and damaging shuttles or space suits, not a place you want a tear in your outfit!

– What about opening your can in the shuttle? I am copy pasting this one…If you sensibly open the can inside the pressurized cabin compartment then the gas escaping from the can’s ring-pull will project the can in the opposite direction. Of course, you usually hold the can firmly tight when opening it, and so the whole system of yourself and the coke can is shot through the cabin. Eventually you figure out how to point the top of the can straight up and position your feet on the ground. You can open your can and absorb the pressure with your legs. Then you then come across the problem that the ring-pull is not perfectly symmetrical. The gas escapes from one side faster than the other. The coke can may twist from your grasp, spraying liquid sugar in a Catherine Wheel of gunk. Alternatively, you may be the one to start spinning.

The picture above depicts the 1st of 3 total attempts to drink soda in space. According to Wiki in 1985, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on STS-51-F. The companies had designed special cans (officially the Carbonated Beverage Dispenser Evaluation payload or CBDE) to test packaging and dispensing techniques for use in zero G conditions. The experiment was classified a failure by the shuttle crew, primarily due to the lack of both refrigeration and gravity. But on the lighter side of space, floating “soda balls” did provide a source of entertainment for the astronauts.

Only thing confirmed here: Coke and Pepsi will do anything to reach marketing’s new final frontier: SPACE.

Vacation Eatz: Washington DC part 2

Yes part 1 was just the was my evening arrival and morning. This post is on the afternoon and evening. OK so it’s like 100 F in a big city. Hello museums with lots of A/C. I did 2 museums (quickly) that day. The first one was the National Museum of American History. Lots of fun and important exhibitions reviewing the past influences and happenings that shaped the USA.

One totally unexpected but fabulous exhibition was Julia Child’s actual kitchen from her home in Massachusetts. Apparently she donated it to the Smithsonian in 2001 when she moved to California. Julia cooked in this kitchen for 42 years! This kitchen alone influenced the way of eating of a whole nation. I stitched pics together to give the best 3d effect I could, bare with the imperfections.

She was apparently a knife fiend. And lots of copper pots too.

Next museum was the National Air and Space Museum. Here you will see the history of flight and space exploration attempted, failed and achieved. It is a hugely popular museum with lots of people. Be prepared! But it is something to see. I card less for the flight part but really enjoyed the space side.

And yes even this museum had food items on the display menu! There was the occasional brief comment on airline food and a statue of a ‘stewardess’ holding a tray.  Ice building totally unrelated but wanted to show you the pic. It was near my friend’s house.

Now space food….on display…was unexpected. Coke, Pepsi, brownies, nuts,prepared stews, fruits. The upper left pic above this text is the kitchen on Skylab. Little teaser: tomorrow’s Thursday’s Thingamajig will be related to space food so come back to see that.

On Apollo 10, semisolid foods became regular items. With a supply of chicken, ham, and tuna salads, along with breads contained in sealed, nitrogen-filled packages, the astronauts could prepare fresh sandwiches. Beginning with Apollo 13, a canteen was added to the astronauts spacesuits that would allow the crew members to drink while they worked on the moon. The Apollo 15 astronauts carried apricot food bars for a snack during increasingly long work periods on the lunar surface. Each astronaut meal was individually wrapped in foil and color-coded.

Back on earth it was time for supper. My hosts decided to take off the beaten path all the way to Fairfax Virginia where a favorite Thai restaurant of theirs is: Cee Fine Thai Dining. How can we not like this place CEE is Cheap Ethnic Eatz acronym too.

It really was a great meal, if not a bit too SPICY (OMG) even for me. I am not new to Thai but this was hot! Thanks god for the Thai Ice Tea (dairy calming down the fire). All 3 of us are foodies and all 3 of us wanted to taste everything. That suited me just fine! We ordered Tom Yum Soup, Jacketed Shrimp and Pot Stickers for starters. Entrees were Drunken Noodles, Panang Chicken Curry and one I cannot remember but it was seafood mix. If you are in that area I recommend this restaurant.

Keep on checking daily….

Thursday’s Thingamajig will be related to space food.

Friday’s post begins the North Carolina leg of my trip.